Warriors To Consider Extension For Festus Ezeli

AUGUST 28TH, 1:59pm: Myers furthered his earlier comments, making it clear in an appearance on KNBR radio that the Warriors want extensions with both Ezeli and Barnes and plan to keep them a long time, as Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group transcribes (Twitter links).

“We’re focused and motivated,” Myers said. “Hopefully we can get something done.”

AUGUST 14TH, 1:08pm: Warriors GM Bob Myers recently said that he’d address the matter of a rookie scale extension for Festus Ezeli before the deadline this fall, and he expressed that he’d like a long-term partnership with Ezeli and Harrison Barnes, who’s also eligible for a rookie scale extension, reports Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com. The Warriors and Barnes have mutual interest in an extension, as Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group reported in June and as I examined in depth last week.

“We love them and we’re going to try to keep them as long as we can,” Myers said of Barnes and Ezeli. “Thankfully, like with Draymond [Green], they would be restricted free agents [next summer]. But hopefully we can figure something out like we have with a lot of our players. They’re a key part of what we do. Without them, we don’t win a championship.”

That would fit with the narrative that the Warriors have expressed about Ezeli in the past, as members of the organization, from co-owner Joe Lacob to coach Steve Kerr and his staff, have consistently spoken of their faith in Ezeli’s future, Poole notes. Ezeli told Poole that he’d leave the matter up to agent Bill Duffy. The deadline for an extension this year is November 2nd, since the traditional October 31st rookie scale extension deadline falls on a Saturday, as Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ indicates.

Ezeli’s much-pilloried ability to catch passes from teammates has improved, as Poole details, and the three-year veteran was more productive on offense this past season, averaging 4.4 points in 11.0 minutes per game compared to 2.4 PPG in 14.4 MPG when he was a rookie. He missed all of his second season with a right knee injury.

Poole cites speculation that Ezeli might end up with $10MM salaries on an extension, though that seems too high, even with the surging salary cap at play, for a backup who was on the fringe of the team’s rotation last season. Golden State already has nearly $75MM committed for 2016/17 against a projected $89MM salary cap, and even though the tax line is projected all the way up at $108MM, the Warriors have reason to remain financially flexible with leaguewide target Kevin Durant set to hit free agency next summer.

What do you think a reasonable extension for Ezeli would look like? Leave a comment to weigh in.

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